To really understand jihadis and their motivations behind their terrorist activities, understanding their interpretation of doctrinal Sharia law is vital. This interpretation of Sharia Law that shapes their understanding of “what it means to be a good Muslim,” then influences the individual’s choice whether to actively pursue jihad – to wage war. A war that, ultimately, impacts the law enforcement community.
- How jihadis use Sharia in furtherance of their operations,
- an understanding of how Sharia fundamentally changes how we approach this threat in military and law enforcement communities,
- and the implications of Sharia on investigations, tactical response, source recruitment, and outreach.
Justice Clearinghouse House Editors (JCH): Your webinar is about Doctrinal Sharia – or Islamic Law. Let’s start from the beginning – what is Sharia Law? What does it include?
Chris Gaubatz: Sharia Law is considered by Muslims to be Divine Law. Islam means submission, and one who submits to Allah is a Muslim. The way that a Muslim submits to Allah is to follow his divine law, the Sharia. Sharia is derived from the Quran and Sunnah. The Quran is considered to be the uncreated word of Allah. The Sunnah is based on the sayings, teachings, and example of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. In Islam, the Sharia governs every aspect of a Muslim’s life.
JCH: Most people will associate what they know of Islamic Law to how the Muslim faith is practiced – such as not eating pork, or what the holy days are, to how often a Muslim prays each day. How is this any different than any world religion that has “rules” for its followers? Why is this a problem?
Chris: Sharia encompasses every aspect of life. Islam defines itself as a complete way of life, encompassing the social, cultural, political, military, and religious, all governed by Sharia. One hundred percent of authoritative Sharia defines jihad as war against non-Muslims, and 100% of authoritative sharia obliges Jihad (total warfare) until the entire planet is subjugated under Sharia.
Islamic scholars will tell you that it is not permissible to only implement some aspects of the Sharia, and not others, therefore any Muslim that is sharia-adherent is necessarily working to supplant the law of their host country with Sharia. The imposition of foreign law is a crime in the United States, as the US Consitution is to be the law of the land. This is a matter of treason and sedition, not faith or religious practice.
JCH: This, leads us to the purpose of your upcoming webinar: what does Sharia Law have to do with the justice community? How is a set of religious faith’s governing laws being used to impact our law enforcement and justice agency professionals?
Chris: Law enforcement officers take an oath to protect the US from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Therefore, they have a professional obligation to understand those enemies.
Our enemy in this war, the global Islamic movement, all state that they are waging Jihad to establish a global Islamic state (Caliphate) under Sharia. Those who have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the US Constitution have a professional obligation to understand who the enemy is, and why they are fighting. LEOs have a professional obligation to understand Sharia.
JCH: Can you provide examples people can look to, to see how this is currently affecting the justice community?
Chris: Understanding how jihadis operate (based on their blueprint for operations, sharia) necessarily changes statements of fact for LEOs pertaining to reasonable suspicion and probable cause. Understanding Sharia necessarily changes the way LEOs approach investigations when Sharia adherent Muslims are involved, to include traffic stops, domestics, interviews, handling sources and assets etc. As we say often at UTT, “It’s all about Sharia.”
Our delineating factor for evaluating threats
at an individual and organizational level is …
the more Sharia adherent a Muslim is,
the higher their threat level.
~ Chris Gaubatz
JCH: How do you balance the need for education about Islamist extremists and how they perhaps corrupt Islamic law, without painting all Muslim people of faith as terrorists?
Chris: We at UTT have yet to see an example of groups like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, or the Muslim Brotherhood misquoting Islamic law, so I challenge the assumption that Jihadi groups are corrupting Islamic law. Not all people who self-identify as Muslim want to live under Sharia, so our delineating factor for evaluating threats at an individual and organizational level is the Sharia: the more Sharia adherent a Muslim is, the higher their threat level.
Remember, not all Jihadis are necessarily committing acts of terrorism (as legally defined), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t waging Jihad. Jihad is total warfare, to include intelligence, counter-intelligence, espionage, treason, propaganda, media manipulation, political influence operations, lawfare, material support for terrorism, as well as terrorism, and/or other iterations of kinetic warfare. So, while not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Muslims are waging Jihad, but that doesn’t mean they represent a different “version” of Islam. One hundred percent of authoritative Islamic Law obliges Muslims to wage Jihad, or support the Jihad; this doesn’t mean that every person who identifies as a Muslim heeds the call to Jihad.
JCH: A large number of our readers and subscribers are in law enforcement, but we have representation from all parts of the justice arena. Can you share some specifics of what different types of justice professionals or first responders will gain by attending your webinar? What skills or new knowledge will they gain that they can immediately use the next day on the job?
Chris: UTT is helping leaders at the federal, state, and local level to create strategies to locate and dismantle the jihadi network in their state and community, while also training law enforcement to investigate and prosecute jihadis (both individuals and organizations).
In order to effectively dismantle the jihadi network at the local level, it will take prosecutors, judges, Sheriffs, Chiefs, LEOs, first responders, and the citizenry to work together. The key to creating and fostering cohesion among all contributors at the local level, to include the citizenry, will be to truly understand the enemy: who they are, how they operate, and their strategic goals.
Since 100% of the enemy uses sharia as the blueprint for their operations, it is essential that all representatives within the justice arena understand sharia. This is what UTT does; we help those tasked with protecting their communities to create strategies to dismantle the jihadi network, and it starts with understanding the threat.